Toledo Talk

Beware "Just Energy" salesmen going door to door

Three dudes in Just Energy uniforms were walking my neighborhood (43609) this evening with clipboards, trying to get people to sign some contract to "lock in a low rate on natural gas for five years." The one I talked to alluded to the Customer Choice program or whatever that Columbia Gas allows. In order to sign up, you have to show them your gas bill.

I dismissed the dude, saying I wasn't the person in charge of the gas bill at our house (true) but he gave me quite a song and dance sales pitch anyway.

Something didn't seem kosher, so I just did a quick search on them and found this: http://www.keyframe5.com/just-energy-why-you-should-not-do-business-with-this-company/ and this: http://www.bbb.org/chicago/business-reviews/natural-gas-companies/just-energy-in-chicago-il-86002251 and this: http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/05/just-energy.html

(Short version: They have a BBB score of "F" in Chicago, Houston and Ontario and a "C" in South Bend, Ind. There are other BBB files but I just looked at random Google search results.)

If these guys come to your door, say thanks but no thanks.

created by jmleong on Jul 15, 2010 at 12:39:04 am     Home     Comments: 13

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We didn't get a sales call or phone call, but we did get a card in the mail recently, which informed us that we had signed up for their service (which we hadn't), and unless we opted out by phone, we'd be in their "program". After a few phone calls to Columbia and Just Energy we managed to get that crap straightened out.

posted by prairieson on Jul 15, 2010 at 02:16:16 am     #  

These assholes tried charging us, even though we had never signed up. Our first months bill...$500. WTF! A few angry calls later the issue was resolved. In short, do not deal with these guys.

posted by OhioKimono on Jul 15, 2010 at 06:00:11 am     #  

Thanks to jmleong for the post. Main Lady's mom is elderly and gregarious; a perfect mark. She's had people come to the door in spite of the prominent 'no soliciting' signs. I wanted to add a few new signs, but Main Lady wouldn't let me.

Private - Keep Out!
Property Insured by Smith & Wesson
Rabid Attack Dogs Used
Trespassers Will Be Shot - Survivors Will Be Shot Again

Things like that.

posted by madjack on Jul 15, 2010 at 08:25:03 am     #  

LOL, madjack. My grandparents used to display a sign with a picture of a gun on it that said, "Never mind the dog. Beware the owner."

Anyway, dude said they were going around now to switch people to their gas program, and that they'd be going around in January to switch people to their electric program. So remember the name.

posted by jmleong on Jul 15, 2010 at 11:40:39 am     #  

I do not answer the phone when the number is not recognized on caller ID. Same with mail. If it looks like junk I toss it without it reading and keep on going. Is it possible I missed some notification of this SCAM company and now I can expect to see a $500.00 charge on my gas bill because I did not choose to "Opt-out" via telephone when I did not even know about it from the start?

posted by KraZyKat on Jul 15, 2010 at 12:53:32 pm     #  

I'm worried about this too now. I don't recall seeing anything in the mail.

posted by karen on Jul 16, 2010 at 11:11:06 am     #  

The dude I spoke with said the company wasn't sending anything in the mail. They were going door-to-door.

As far as I can tell, you have to "sign up" for the service. It's not something that you have to opt out of. According to the dude, once you sign up with a rep, then the gas company itself is supposed to call you to confirm your partipation. But I dunno, I wouldn't exactly take his word for it.

posted by jmleong on Jul 16, 2010 at 03:48:05 pm     #  

er, participation

posted by jmleong on Jul 16, 2010 at 03:48:27 pm     #  

I also got a notice from Columbia Gas saying I had opted to switch my service. This was also a surprise because I had not done so. One call to the automated service at Columbia and it was done. It must be common, they had on option for it and the process to change it back was printed on the notice. I did not get mail from Just Energy, just switched to them.

posted by Hawkeye on Jul 16, 2010 at 07:08:50 pm     #  

I had gotten that letter too. So the consensus is not to switch huh? They never even stopped by to ask if we wanted to switch.

posted by upso on Jul 16, 2010 at 07:24:02 pm     #  

Your elected officials negotiated the co-op rate of I belive was 1/2 cent per cu ft lower than Columbia's rate.You can't go wrong by staying in the Co-Op. You had to send in the post card to op out and stay with Columbia Gas. It will save me about $7.00 per year. The other guys are trying to lock you into a rate that could go higher than Columbia's The price is only for the gas itself and Columbia will still charge you for service and delivery cost and their overhead.

posted by OldTimer on Jul 16, 2010 at 07:54:16 pm     #  

Just had an update from my boss. She warned her married daughter and damn if she didn't get someone at her door 2 days later. He laid on the hard sell until she said she'd read it was a scam on the internet, then he mumbled something about he could see she was happy with the plan she had and scooted. ;p

posted by nana on Jul 19, 2010 at 08:14:38 pm     #  

The opt-out stuff a community aggregate program voted on by elected officials. While the natural gas program isn't that bad, the electric one is awful. The company is called NOPEC and offers a pre-determined plan that averages .066per kwh. There are companies out there whose rates average .0550...Worst thing is when you want to switch they charge a $50 or $300 penalty which is pretty bogus considering we never signed an agreement or contract with them.

posted by Andrew on Jul 26, 2010 at 03:05:39 pm     #